Protecting Your Brand on the Internet: Special Rules for the New .xxx Domain

September 13, 2011

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has recently approved the .xxx domain dealing with adult entertainment.  ICANN has introduced special procedures for the registration of names under this controversial domain.

When the Internet was first commercialized, a land rush erupted into the original top level domains, such as .ca and .com, resulting in well publicized disputes over cyber squatting and the ownership of domains based on well known trade-marks.

To avoid a similar land rush in new top level domains, such as .biz and .travel, ICANN has employed a Sunrise Period to allow trade-mark registrants to acquire domains based on their trade-marks before opening registration to the general public.

The Sunrise Period for .xxx came into effect on September 7, 2011 and will run until October 28, 2011.  In the Sunrise Period for .xxx, trade-mark registrants may register their trade-marks as domain names in advance of the public or, if preferred, may block registration of their trade-marks as domains.  Blocking registration allows trade-mark registrants to protect their brand in .xxx without actually using their trade-mark in this controversial domain.

To be eligible to reserve a domain based on your trade-mark, your trade-mark must be registered prior to September 1, 2011 and be in effect at the time of application for reservation.  If you have a registered trade-mark and are concerned about your brand’s reputation on the Internet, you should consider applying for registration in the .xxx domain during this Sunrise Period.

If you wish to dispute the ownership of a name based on your trade-mark in any other domain, you can submit a complaint under the domain name dispute resolution process.

Cox & Palmer can help you with trade-mark registration, domain name registration and reservation, and domain name disputes.


Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.

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Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.